The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) ruled in favor of MGM Resorts regarding wagers placed in June after certain baseball games had already started. The decision allows MGM Resorts to void dozens of wagers that would have won bettors more than $200,000.
On June 28, bettors placed numerous wagers after some Korean and Taiwanese baseball games started. The bets were placed at BetMGM Sportsbook kiosks inside the Bellagio between 1:30 and 3:30 a.m.
Typically, pre-game wagering opportunities are removed from retail sportsbooks and Nevada sports betting apps after the event is underway.
The MGM Resorts sportsbook made an error and posted the wrong start time for the games. Since the timing was incorrect, the system didn’t remove these wagering options, and bettors attempted to take advantage of the situation.
Voided BetMGM wagers
There were slightly more than 50 wagers placed on multiple baseball games at Bellagio on June 28. The bettors would have won more than $200,000 because of the BetMGM error.
The biggest wager was a 10-leg parlay that would have paid $137,000, according to a report by ESPN.
The wins weren’t guaranteed, as the games were still being played while the wagers were placed. The games started at either 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. and ended by 4.a.m. However, the bettors had a distinct advantage with these wagers that most bettors wouldn’t have had.
MGM Resorts claimed the bets should be voided. The company didn’t want to be on the hook to pay the winning wagers even though they made the error.
The NGCB agreed and ruled in favor of BetMGM. The casino and sportsbook operator was allowed to void more than $200,000 in past-post bets and return the original wagers if the bettors come forward.
— R2D2 Audrey (@AudreyR2d2) July 7, 2020
MGM Resorts didn’t claim victory for all the wagers placed. At least two bettors were able to cash tickets totaling $40,000. That’s just a portion of how much the BetMGM error could have cost the casino operator.
Past posting sports bets
Placing a wager after a game is underway is called past posting. This can happen in many casino games and occasionally happens with sports bets every year.
BetMGM doesn’t have a house rule against past posting, and neither does the NGCB. However, the regulations from NGCB prohibit sportsbooks from invalidating wagers without written approval from gaming control.
Past posting in Nevada sportsbooks doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. The sportsbooks tend to have two solutions:
1. Refund the wagers(s) and allow the customer to place wagers in the future
2. Pay the bettor full winnings and permanently ban them from the sportsbook
These decisions are often agreed to by the bettor and sportsbook operators, since they don’t typically result in a six-figure loss for the sportsbook. Since so much money was on the line, MGM Resorts went to the NGCB for a decision.
Past posting can cause an ethical dilemma for sports bettors and sportsbooks. The player is always looking for the best odds and betting opportunities. Sometimes that means taking advantage of weak point spreads or bad odds from the sportsbook.
At the same time, the sportsbook can refuse service to players, so there’s usually some give and take between the parties.
Ultimately, bettors want to gamble and sportsbooks want their action. There’s usually a compromise made by both so that they can continue doing business together.
2020 is a unique year for sports betting
The coronavirus pandemic is making 2020 a strange year for sports bettors. Sports leagues around the world paused their seasons even before brick-and-mortar casinos in Nevada closed.
However, gamblers still want action and were looking for new ways to bet on sports while the major professional leagues stopped.
Bettors flocked to the few Nevada sportsbook apps that were operating to look for wagering opportunities. The sportsbooks wasted little time searching high and low to provide customers with those opportunities. Esports and Russian table tennis (ping pong) were popular during the early days of the pandemic.
The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) started its season on April 21. This gave bettors an opportunity to gamble on a sport that looks similar to what they might normally wager on. The big difference in baseball in Asia, is that the games mostly take place at hours when most people are sleeping.
The first pitch for KBO games takes place anywhere from 1 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. PT.
Major professional sports started to come back with Bundesliga soccer matches from Germany. Now, three of the “big four” professional sports are back in action.
Major League Baseball started a short season a couple of weeks ago, and sportsbooks have released odds. The National Basketball Association and National Hockey League are just beginning to finish up their respective seasons that paused when the coronavirus reached the US.
2020 will be a strange year for a lot of reasons. Sports bettors may remember this as the year they started wagering on new sports taking place in different locations around the world.